Chapecoense awarded title after suggestion by rival club

ASUNCION • South American football's governing body, Conmebol, awarded this year's Copa Sudamericana championship to Brazil's Chapecoense club on Monday, after most of the team died in a plane crash in Colombia last week.

Only six people survived the crash which killed 71 passengers and crew and plunged Brazil into mourning.

Colombia's Club Atletica Nacional, which would have played Chapecoense in the biggest game in the club's history, asked for the trophy to be awarded to the Brazilian team to honour the victims.

Conmebol's council decided to grant that request with all of the "sport and economic prerogatives that entails," the statement said.

Club Atletico received a one-time Fair Play award.

As Sudamericana champions, Chapecoense will play Libertadores champions Atletico Nacional for the Recopa Sudamericana next year. They will also get a guaranteed spot in next year's Copa Libertadores, South America's equivalent of the Champions League.

Family and friends in club colours grieved over 50 caskets flown to Chapeco for an open-air wake in the team's stadium on Saturday.

Brazil's national football team have invited Colombia to play a friendly match next month with proceeds from the game going to families of the Chapecoense players and staff killed in the crash.

"The idea is that the game will be against Colombia, for all that represents," a Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) spokesman said. "But we don't know if they will be able to come because of the dates. But a friendly will take place, against someone else if not Colombia, probably on either Jan 22 or 25."

The CBF also said it would donate 5 million reais (S$2 million) to Chapecoense to help the club get back on its feet.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2016, with the headline 'Chapecoense awarded title after suggestion by rival club'. Print Edition | Subscribe